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Spartan Unveils Nutrition Labels

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One more story about nutrition labeling programs in supermarkets and we’re going to have to change the name of this blog. It seems we can’t keep up with reporting the new efforts as they roll out from manufacturers, health groups and retailers themselves.

Oh, well. No complaints, mind you. I think it’s great that there’s an ever-growing variety of reference tools available to consumers. The important thing with any of these programs is that it captures the attention of shoppers at the point of sale, whether it’s a shelf strip on on-pack label. It gets them to stop a moment and think about reading labels. And that’s exactly what we need to have happen.

dw_label.gifSpartan Stores, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based wholesaler/retailer, is pursuing the shelf tag strategy. The Nutrition Guide program, covering 16,000 products, is being introduced this week in Spartan’s D&W Fresh Markets and Family Fare Supermarkets. There, customers will find color-coded labels that identify six categories whose nutrition facts meet health federal health requirements:

• Low fat (orange label)

• Low sodium (tan)

• High fiber (teal blue)

• Gluten free (green)

• Sugar free (purple)

• Low calorie (yellow)

Heather Leets, the company’s registered dietitian, and a team of colleagues designed the Nutrition Guide program, and will help introduce and explain it to shoppers through Spartan’s “Ask the Dietitian” web-based newsletter, and other forums. The retailer is rolling the program out in style, too, with an interactive nutrition demonstration at a D&W store. What’s more, the chain has reached out to organizations like the YMCA and senior centers in order to get their clients interested in the initiative.

If nothing else, I hope reporting on this retailer effort will make up for the beating we took a few weeks ago when we opined on the Smart Choices program.

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